‘Solar for Schools’ in Himachal Pradesh
An initiative called ‘Solar in Schools’ was introduced by the Center for Science and Environment (CSE), based in New Delhi, Shimla and Himachal Pradesh. To highlight the significance of solar energy, CSE held a workshop called’ GSP Workshop on Renewable Energy (Solar in Schools) and Solid Waste Management’ in Shimla in collaboration with the Himachal Pradesh Council for Science, Technology and Environment (HIMCOSTE).
“All the 84 schools who participated in the workshop were encouraged to complete the energy audit and send their entries for the upcoming science fair on solar in school,” said the company spokesman. She further added, “Due to the unavailability of sufficient data on solar installations in schools, it is difficult to say if the institutions have negligible solar installation capacity. Many schools (both government and private) have gone ahead with solar through government subsidies.”
This initiative was launched to sensitize teachers about the use of renewable energy. According to Ranjita Menon, program director of CSE’s Environment Education Unit, “Solar in Schools would aim to bring about a change in the way energy is consumed in schools. More importantly, it would try to enhance the understanding of energy management among students and the need to transition to cleaner energy alternatives with lower environmental impacts.”
The 2018 Green Schools Program (GSP) environmental audit of 1,700 schools (undertaken by CSE in collaboration with the Himachal Pradesh Council for Science, Technology and Environment) disclosed that only 13% of schools use solar power. Only 16 of the 114 colleges participating in the 2018 GSP Audit stated to have installed solar energy systems in Himachal Pradesh. Many of the colleges used biomass or wood (primarily midday meals for cooking).
As of August 2019, the Himachal Pradesh Energy Development Agency (HIMURJA) floated tenders for installing solar projects at 312 middle schools, from 11 districts of Hiamchal Pradesh. The tentative cost is 110 million rupees and the project is expected to be completed within 7 to 8 months.